Hat Types: The Toque

Toque | Royal Hats

During our recent look at the classic pillbox hat, readers Barbara and Louisa May asked some questions about the “toque” style of hat. Through this conversation, I came to understand the toque not only as a unique style of hat but also as the answer to our turban-pillbox hat mystery!

History: As I understand, toque hats were a brimless hat widely worn by men in Europe between the 13th and 16th centuries (see here and see here).  After falling out of fashion, the toque style morphed into what we know as a chef’s hat today. During the Edwardian era (1900-1910), the toque regained popularity as a hat for women. Edwardian toques were usually adorned with spiky hussar plumes or puffs of ostrich feather.

Characteristics: A brimless hat that sits off the face.  Although the sides of a toque fairly straight, the crown shape of a toque is usually rounded or peaked on one side. Toques characteristically look as though they were made of wrapped fabric or straw. This pleated or ruched look makes them resemble a voluminous turban although their shape is closer to that of a rounded pillbox. Traditionally, a calot hat sits back, tightly fitting to the crown of the wearer’s head while a toque sits forward on the top of the head.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Queen Mary adopted this hat style during the Edwardian period and continued wearing it for 30 years (a marvellous newspaper article about this can be read here). Today, Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde and their Belgian hat designer Fabienne Delvigne have revived this style in a version worn back further off the face.

 Queen Mary, 1932 | The Royal Hats Blog  Queen Mary, 1935 | The Royal Hats Blog  Queen Mary, 1937 | The Royal Hats Blog  Queen Mary, 1937 | The Royal Hats Blog

Queen Mary in 1932, during her Silver Jubilee in 1935, and at coronation events in 1937

Queen Elizabeth,1978| The Royal Hats Blog Princess Astrid, 1999 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Paola, 2001 | The Royal Hats Blog Queen Margrethe, Dec. 12, 2013 | Royal Hats

Queen Elizabeth,1978; Princess Astrid, 1999; Queen Paola, 2001; Queen Margrethe, 2013

Duchess of Gloucester, March 3, 2007 | The Royal Hats Blog 2005-10-28 Nelson's 200th anniversaryR Queen Máxima, September 13, 2013 in Fabienne Delvigne IRoyal Hats  Lady Helen Taylor, June 14, 2014 in Stephen Jones | Royal Hats

Duchess of Gloucester, 2007;  The Duchess of Cornwall in 2005;
Queen Máxima, 2013; Lady Helen Taylor in 2014

Here is Fabienne Delvigne’s revived toque hat variation, still voluminous but worn further back off the face:

Queen Máxima, June 19, 2013 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Máxima, June 28, 2013 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Queen Mathilde, September 24, 2013 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats    

 Sep 19, 2017 in FD | Royal Hats Queen Mathilde, May 20, 2015 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

For months we have debated if Queen Máxima and Queen Mathilde’s hats were turbans or pillboxes and I hope this answer provides some clarity. My sincere thanks goes out to readers Barbara and Louisa May whose questions and suggestion made me research further into what a toque really was. I am so curious what the rest of you think about the toque, both as Queen Mary wore it and during its royal revival this year?

Photos from Topical Press Agency,Popperfoto, and Popperfoto via Getty
Corbis; Photonews via Getty; The Royal Forums; Jens Astrup via Berlingske
Mark Cuthbert via Getty;  Tim Graham via Getty; Patrick Katwijk via Dutch Photo PressMax Mumby/Indigo via Getty;
Associated Press via Volkskrant; Patrick van Katwijk via  Dutch Photo PressNieuwsblad.beMichel Porro via Getty;
Patrick van Katwijk/dpa/Corbis; Patrick van Katwijk and Michel Porro via Getty

Hat Types: The Calot

Calot | Royal Hats

After our recent looks at the brimless turban and pillbox hats, today we look at the calot.

History: The calot (which means ‘cap’ in French) design harks back to a popular hat in the 16th century known as the ‘Juliet cap’. 500 years ago, Juliet caps were usually an open-work woven cap, often decorated with pearls, beads or jewels. The calot style came back into fashion in the 1920s and again in the 1970s, when it then became de rigueur with bohemian brides. While calots have mostly been worn with evening gowns or wedding dresses, they are also occasionally worn by royals as a daytime hat.

Characteristics: A close-fitting cap that sits off the face with no visor or brim. A calot is distinguished by its rounded crown that follows the contour of the wearer’s head.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: The iconic Princess Grace of Monaco on her wedding day. It is a go-to shape or Queen Silvia and Queen Máxima has embraced the shape in recent years as well.

Royal Calots:

Viscountess Linley, June 22, 1995 | The Royal Hats Blog Nov 2, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog Crown Princess Victoria, July 2, 2011 | The Royal Hats Blog 

Viscountess Linley, June 22, 1995; Princess Máxima in Fabienne Delvigne, Nov, 2, 2011;
  Crown Princess Victoria, July 2, 2011; Duchess of Cambridge in Jane Taylor, Sept, 16, 2012

Queen Máxima , Feb 9, 2017 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats  Sep 16, 2014 in Fabienne Delvigne | Royal Hats

Queen Máxima in Fabienne Delvigne, Feb 9, 2017; Crown Princess Mary in Susanne Juul, Oct 6, 2015
Queen Máxima on Sep 16, 2014

Lady Diana Spencer, June 13, 1981 | The Royal Hats Blog  Queen Silvia, October 31, 2016 | Royal Hats Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Dec. 10, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog

 Lady Diana Spencer in John Boyd, June 13, 1981; Crown Princess Mary, Sept. 13, 2014
Queen Silvia, October 31, 2016
Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Dec. 10, 2012 

While the calots are great for royal walkabouts or events when a royal face needs to be clearly visible, I sometimes find this style of hat falls a little flat. Like the pillbox, I think placement is key- it works when it is not too far back (from the hats above, I think Máxima and Mary got it just right). What do you think of the calot hat?

Photos from Tim Graham via Getty; Dutch Photo Press; Andreas Rentz via Zimbio; Samir Hussein via Getty;  Marco Prosch via Getty; Splash News/Splash News/CorbisMark Cuthbert via Getty; Rex Features; Bauer GriffinJonathan Nikstrand via Getty; Scanpix

Hat Types: The Pillbox

Pillbox | Royal Hats

Debate erupted here on the Royal Hats Blog earlier this year over Queen Máxima’s new hat style (a turban pillbox combo). We recently looked at turbans and today, we explore the pillbox.

History: Pillbox hats have long been associated with military uniforms, often worn with a chin strap in this capacity. They date back as late as the Roman Empire, when they were known as the pilleus or “Pannonian cap” and were worn by Roman soldiers.The pillbox was thrust into fashion spotlight in 1960 when US First Lady Jackie Kennedy chose one to wear to her husband’s presidential inauguration. They have been consistently worn by royals since then.

Characteristics: No brim, a flat crown and straight, upright sides.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Everyone!

Classic Royal Pillboxes:

Duchess of Kent, 1960s  Princess Diana, May 1, 1986 Queen Paola, Oct. 22, 1996 Princess Caroline, Nov. 19, 2003

Sep 16, 2003 | Royal Hats Princess Kiko, April 26, 2007 Empress Farah Diba, 1960 Queen Silvia, Sep. 9, 2013

Duchess of Kent, 1960s; Princess Diana, May 1, 1986, Queen Paola, Oct. 22, 1996; Princess Caroline, Nov. 19, 2003
Princess Máxima, Sep.18, 2003; Princess Kiko, April 26, 2007;  Empress Farah, 1960s; Queen Silvia, Sep. 9, 2013 

Textured Pillboxes:

Princess Aimee, Oct 20, 2005  Queen Paola, April 5, 2000  Princess Máxima, April 30, 2008

Princess Aimee, Oct 20, 2005; Queen Paola, April 5, 2000 and July 21, 2013; Princess Máxima, April 30, 2008 

Fur and Faux Fur Pillboxes:

Princess Astrid, Nov. 15, 2008  Archduchess Kathleen, Dec 29, 2012  Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, April 15, 2008  Princess Anne, March 13, 2013

Princess Astrid, Nov. 15, 2008;  Archduchess Kathleen, Dec. 29, 2012;
Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, April 15, 2008; Princess Anne, March 13, 2013 

Bow-Trimmed Pillbox

Princess Diana, May 20, 1995  Princess Mary, May 6, 2009 Queen Anne-Marie, Jan. 14, 2012  Queen Beatrix, April 19, 2012

Princess Diana, May 20, 1995; Princess Mary, May 6, 2009; 
Queen Anne-Marie, Jan. 14, 2012; Queen Beatrix, April 19, 2012 

Embellished Pillboxes: 

Princess Anne, 1982 Princess Astrid, Oct. 27, 2005  Queen Anne-Marie, 1963 Princess Beatrice, June 2, 2012

Queen Elizabeth, July 9, 1996  Oct 6, 2009 | Royal Hats Queen Elizabeth, March 2, 2002  Empress Michiko, July 14, 2009

Princess Anne, 1982; Princess Astrid, Oct. 27, 2005; Queen Anne-Marie, 1963; Princess Beatrice, June 2, 2012 
Queen Elizabeth, July 9, 1996 and March 2, 2002; Princess Marie, Oct. 6, 2009, Empress Michiko, July 14, 2009 

I have always loved pillbox hats and probably always will. I love the simplicity of their design and the slightly retro vibe they carry. It seems to me, however, that the success of the pillbox is often found in the angle it is worn on the head- neither too far forward, nor too far back. I think the pink and green pillboxes worn by Princess Máxima and Princess Kiko at the top of this post are worn at the perfect spot.

What do you think of the pillbox hat?

Photos from: Viva Maxima Blog;  Tim Graham via The Royal Forums; Noburu Hashimoto via Corbis; Pascal La Segretain via Getty; Mark Cuthbert via Getty; Toshiyuki Aizawa via Corbis; Nick Verreos Blog; Ragnar Singsaas via ZimbioVan Parys Media via Corbis; The Royal Forums; Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Zimbio; Mark Cuthbert and Mark Renders/Stringer via Getty; PurePeople.com; Dan Kitwood and Samir Hussein via Getty; The Royal Forums; My Royal Blog; Albert Nieboer via Corbis; Dutch Photo PressFriends Reunited; Julian Parker,  Hulton Archive and Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty; Andrew Murray via Corbis; Hanne Juul/Image Magazine via BilledBladetGetty Images and AFP/Stringer via Getty

Hat Types: The Turban

Turban | Royal Hats

When Queen Máxima began her reign this year with a series of voluminous hats worn back on the crown of her head (see here, here, here, and here), confusion ensued. Was it a pillbox? Was it a turban? Was it a hybrid of the two? The answer starts with understanding the turban. In coming weeks we will look at a a few more hat types (including the pillbox and calot) and determine what type of hat Máxima’s new hats really are.

History: Turbans have been around for thousands of years as a religious head covering for men in several faith traditions (primarily in the Islamic and Seikh religions). Because the history of this head wear is so old, it’s true origin is unknown. Turbans first showed up in recorded history in the fourteenth century at the end of the Moorish occupation in Spain; they became a popular fashion item for women during the 1920s and  hit the height of their popularity during the 1960s and 1970s.

Characteristics: Turbans are based on cloth winding- they look like they are made of many layers wrapped around the wearer’s head. In most of the hats we see here, the layers are sewn onto a foundation cloth for easier wearing but they still look “wound up”. A full turban is wrapped in an oval shape around the head, covering the top half of the wearer’s ears and leaving little or no hair showing at the forehead.

Royals Associated with this Hat Style: Queen Elizabeth, Princess Grace of Monaco.  Currently, the royal we see most in turbans is Sheikha Mozah of Qatar who Iseems to have adopted the style as a fashionable way to meet religious head covering requirements.


Princess Grace of Monaco, 1962;  Infanta Pilar of Spain, 1990;
Tatiana Santo Domingo Casiraghi, 2011Queen; Elizabeth,1975


Queen Silvia of Sweden, 1975;  Princess Marilène of Orange-Nassau, 2005;  
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, 1947; Queen Máxima, 2011

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Sheikha Moza of Qatar


 Princess Diana, 1989; Princess Grace, 1961; Quen Sonja 1973; Princess Margaret, 1982


 Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, 1982;Princess Grace of Monaco, 1967;
Queen Elizabeth, 1970 Princess Alexandra of Kent, 1962;

 Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images  Embed from Getty Images

Princess Michael of Kent, 2011; Queen Elizabeth, 1979; Empress Farah Pahlavi, 2011; Queen Máxima, 2012

I will admit- the turban is not my favourite type of hat. I am, however, blown away by the two black turbans worn by Princess Grace. Don’t they look fabulous on her? I’m curious- what do you think about the royal turban? And, having seen this hat type defined, do you think Queen Máxima’s new hat style could be classified as a turban?

Photos from Getty as indicated; G. Lukomski; unknown;Stella Pictures; Reginald Davis/Rex USA; Hulton-Deutsch Collection via Corbis; Michel Porro via Getty; British Pathe; ,Patrick van Katwijk via Corbis; Tim Graham/AP; Corbis; Reuters via VG.no;  Tim Graham via Getty;  Francis Apesteguy and Popperfoto via Getty; and Corbis

Hat Types: The Fedora

Fedora | Royal Hats

I am excited to launch a new series here on the blog entitled “Hat Types”. Over the coming months, we will explore different types of hats – what characteristics are common to this type of hat as well as what variations we see in royal hats in this style – and build a glossary of hat types. We begin today with the Fedora.

History: The Italian milliner Borsalino created a felt hat with a center crease in the crown in 1857– this hat became his trademark. A decade later in 1889, Sarah Bernhardt performed the role of Princess Fédora in a play of the same name by Victorien Sardou. In the play, she wore one of the Borsalino type hats with a center crease and soft brim. The style took off and voilà- the Fedora went mainstream! During it’s first wave of popularity, fedoras were worn by women; during the 1920s this hat became part of men’s fashion. These days, we see them more on royal men than we do on royal women.

Characteristics: A lengthwise crease down the center of the crown with a visible “pinch” in the front on both sides. Crowns may have varied shape (teardrop, diamond, tall oval etc) and the “pinch” may be subtle but should still be visible.  Brims are usually  2.5 inches (6.3 centimeters) wide. Panama hats are an informal fedora made of natural straw (see a few from our summer poll here). A note of caution- fedoras are often confused with Homburg and Trilby hats. We’ll look at these hats in coming weeks.

Classic Fedoras: 

Queen Máxima, Jan 24, 2017 in Fabienne Delvgine | Royal Hats Crown Princess Victoria, May 27, 2015 in Borsalino | Royal Hats Infanta Elena, Aug 6, 2016 | Royal Hats

Queen Máxima, Jan 24, 2017; Crown Princess Victoria, May 27, 2015; Infanta Elena, Aug 6, 2016


King Carl Gustaf, Jan 17, 2016 | Royal Hats  Peter Phillips, Mar 17, 2016 | Royal Hats  Duke of Edinburgh, May 14, 2016 | Royal Hats

King Carl Gustaf, Jan 17, 2016; Peter Phillips, Mar 17, 2016; Duke of Edinburgh, May 14, 2016

Zara Tindall, Mar 16, 2017 in Rosie Olivia | Royal Hats Princess Michael of Kent, Oct 10, 2007 | Royal Hats Crown Princess Mary, March 3, 2015 in Susanne Juul | Royal Hats Queen Máxima, Oct 3, 2016 in Fabienne Delvgine | Royal Hats

Zara Tindall, Mar 16, 2017; Princess Michael of Kent, Oct 10, 2007;
Crown Princess Mary, March 3, 2015; Queen Máxima, Oct 3, 2016

Variations on the Fedora: 

Princess Claire, July 21, 2004 | The Royal Hats Blog    Princess Irene, December 11, 2004 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Claire of Belgium in a toile fedora with diagonally upturned brim, July 21, 2004;
Princess Mathilde of Belgium in a relaxed fedora with double side pinches on King’s Day, November 15, 2010
Princess Irene of the Netherlands in a white fedora with an oversize curved brim, December 11, 2004

Princess Marie, October 16, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog  Prince Charles, November 5, 2012 | The Royal Hats Blog

Princess Marie of Denmark in an oversize Panama fedora hat, October 2012
Prince Charles in a relaxed leather fedora with large brim in Australia, November 5, 2012 

What do you think of the Fedora as a hat style?

Photos from Patrick van Katwijk via Getty; David Sica via ExpressenCarlos Alvarez, Ragnar Singsaas, Max Mumby/Indigo, Max Mumby/IndigoMax Mumby/IndigoDave M. Bennett, via Getty; Patrick van Katwijk via Corbis; Albert Nieboer via PPE;  Lesoir; Royal Press Europe; Splash News via Corbis; Michel Porro/Stringer via Getty; and Chris Jackson via Getty